As COVID-19 cases increase and area hospitalization rates push ICU capacities to alarming levels, the difficult decision to cancel Cleburne’s Friday Lighted Christmas Parade was necessary and follows suit with many other Texas communities.
In consultation with the city, its health officials and Mayor Scott Cleburne, the Chamber of Commerce concurs with the decision as an essential move to prevent additional spread and support our health care providers who are working tirelessly on our behalf.
“Whistle Stop has always been about bringing families and friends together to celebrate Christmas. Unfortunately, lining the streets with parade observers would be difficult to manage and goes against our combined efforts to slow the spread, reduce hospitalizations, and support an already overextended health care system,” Cleburne Fire Chief Scott Lail said. “We certainly understand everyone’s desire for some normalcy and the chamber, city staff and mayor have been working hard to provide that through the parade and other activities. Unfortunately, circumstances have now reached a point where the ability to provide critical health care has been breached and conducting an activity, such as the parade, that could further lead to mass spread of the virus and hospitalization of residents would be irresponsible.”
Other Whistle Stop events are taking place and still scheduled for that same evening. Socially distanced activities where protocols can be implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, such as food and gift vendors, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, train rides and more, are planned at Hulen Park that evening beginning at 6 p.m.
“Working closely with event sponsors, the city and our vendors we are still able to provide holiday activities to Cleburne residents and visitors,” Chamber President Tara Janszen said. “We have numerous health and safety protocols in place such as frequent sanitizing of high touch areas, line markers for social distancing, and a plexiglass picture frame between Santa and his visitors.”
Holiday lights will be on at Hulen Park every evening through Dec. 31 with the Children’s Train available for rides through Dec. 19, from 5-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
“While it is certainly not the normal Christmas we all long for, please know that our chamber and city staff, along with numerous volunteers, organizations and vendors have worked tirelessly to do their very best to bring some holiday cheer to our community,” Cain said.
For more information about Whistle Stop, visit whistlestopchristmas.com